There was a lot of jibber-jabber from the Mets bench on Sunday afternoon as home plate umpire Phil Cuzzi was inundated with a number of borderline pitches. It’s very hard to tell from the TV screen whether Cuzzi was right or wrong, since the off-center angle of the centerfield camera can make pitches that are balls look like strikes, and vice-versa. The best angle is directly behind home plate, of course — and it is the only angle that matters.
Toward that end, it is extremely important for the catcher to be skillful at properly receiving the baseball. For years and years and years, baseball coaches at every level have huffed and puffed about “framing”: the idea of catching the ball in one place (off the plate), but “easing” it into another (the strike zone). It’s considered very savvy to do so, and it seems to be taught even to little leaguers; everyone who “knows anything about catching”, knows about framing.
Despite popular belief, it’s absolutely wrong.
The catcher’s first job is to